Before its economic success of the latter half of the twentieth century, the South Korean GDP was the equivalent of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ravaged by war, colonial conquest of the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, and Americans, the country was left to riots, assassinations, dictators, and robber baron economics.
Through reform and implementation of a certain “can-do” spirit, today South Korea has become the only nation in the world to increase 200% in its economy. It is currently the 4th largest economy in Asia and the 13th in the world. Life expectancy is higher than the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany, while the average Korean has more financial opportunities than the French, Italians, and other Europeans.
As evidenced by Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, the mathematical ability of Koreans, second only to Japan, stems not from a genetic predisposition, but discipline and perseverance; in other words, the spirit of diligence. In the realm of scientific literacy, they are first in the world, resulting in being the most wired, most economically intelligent, most technologically cutting-edge, and with the most number of patents of technology (more than United States, Germany, and France combined).
South Korea is the world’s largest shipbuilder and has exported more goods than all of Central Asia and South American put together. The four top Korean companies make more than Apple, BMW, Coca-cola, Google, Intel, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nike, Sony, Starbucks, and Disney put together (LG itself is three times larger than Apple).
This same boom in the Korean economy is found also in realm of religion.
As of 2008, South Korea has become the country where the second most number of Christian missionaries are deployed throughout the world. Though it is second to the United States, it is closing the gap quickly. Just a couple years ago, South Korea was third, catching up to the United Kingdom. But now, there are 16,616 Korean full-time missionaries in 173 countries.
By 2030, missions strategists hope to dispatch a total of 100,000 missionaries.
It seems this burst of missionary activity stems from the same “can do” spirit found in South Koreans. The largest church in the world is the Yoido Full Gospel church in Seoul, Korea with about 830,000 members. The senior pastor has 171 associate pastors and 356 lay pastors. Though they speak in tongues and have shamanistic elements in a Pentecostal framework, the church was started by 20 families years ago who practiced and implemented this certain spirit of not-giving up.
On a wider perspective, Korean Christianity is on the cutting edge of politics, entertainment, the arts, and educational systems. Church organizations are on the front-lines to provide repatriation for North Korean refugees. Talks are in the works for reunification with Korean Christianity providing private funding and resources. Intricate food networks have been created to allocate and distribute the donations given by the South to the North.
Currently pastors and administrators have been stragetizing for the evangelization of North Korea in multi-staged campaigns, planning for construction resources for infrastructure design and repair, the organization of districts and territories for ministry/evangelism, and even renting out large amount of storage space near the border for miscellaneous goods. The second the borders are released, personnel and plans have been pre-established so that every individual already knows what, how, when, and where to accomplish their duties.
Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.